GroundTruth Blog

GroundTruth: PAN's blog on pesticides, food & health

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

New Year's Eve proved disastrous for farmers, consumers and the environment. That was the day Congress kicked the Farm Bill can down the road, failing to pass a new five-year law with much needed reforms and improvements — or even the reasonable short-term extension that was on the table.

Instead, legislators passed an awful nine-month extension as part of the "fiscal cliff" bargain. The bill includes no reform of huge payments to the big commodity crops, no disaster assistance and no extension of funding for a range of important programs — from farmers markets to rural micro-enterprise to organic research. The silver lining? We now have nine months to push for a decent Farm Bill that keeps what's working and reforms what's broken. We're rolling up our sleeves.

Judy Hatcher's blog
By Judy Hatcher,

A word that comes up over and over in our work is community. I’ve been reflecting on various physical and virtual communities here at PAN, and the ways in which our lives and aspirations are woven together around our shared goals.

Looking at PAN’s accomplishments over the past year, I’m feeling deeply grateful to each and every person in these communities — including you. Be they a handful of people or hundreds of thousands with common concerns, these overlapping communities provide the inspiration and the muscle we need to transform corporate and government systems.

Margaret Reeves's blog
By Margaret Reeves,

The adage "we are what we eat" supports  food and nutrition education programs across the country. The same goes for the farm — production of an abundant diversity of healthy crops depends on healthy soil and crop management techniques.

Farmers aren't born knowing how to do this, they learn. They learn from each other, and through programs like USDA's new soil health initiative. This is why we're working hard to make sure the next Farm Bill is a strong one that supports innovative farmer education.

Sarojeni V. Rengam's blog
By Sarojeni V. Rengam,

The challenges faced by biodiversity-based ecological agriculture are not primarily technical but political. Evidence from three countries shows farming without fossil fuels works. But such methods will only be adopted widely once we prevail over the political power of agribusiness.

Medha Chandra's blog
By Medha Chandra,

Over a year ago we blogged about the country’s broken pesticide regulatory system that is allowing certain rodenticides to remain on store shelves despite EPA declaring that they need to go. These are products that pose known health hazards to kids, pets and wildlife.

As the L.A. Times reports, rodenticide manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser has still not complied with EPA’s decision, and has joined with other companies to push back with lawyers and lobbyists. Earlier this week, a coalition of public-health and environmental groups did their own pushing in California, urging the Department of Pesticide Regulation to end the use of super-toxic rat poisons in the state.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

In Iowa earlier this week, organic and conventional farmers delivered over 40,000 petition signatures and a clear message to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: Stop the approval of "next generation" GE corn and soy crops. Now.

Dow’s 2,4-D-resistant corn is the first of 10 herbicide-resistant crops in the queue pending USDA approval, with Monsanto’s dicamba soy and others not far behind. If approved, these new GE crops would dramatically drive up the use of harmful pesticides, placing the burden of increased costs and health risks on farmers and local communities.

Paul Towers's blog
By Paul Towers,

Across the pond, the buzz is all about the impacts of pesticides on bees. Both the U.S. EPA, and its British counterpart, Defra, have been slow to act on the growing body of scientific evidence that would protect bees. But a series of important hearings may signal important changes afoot in that country.

Marcia Ishii-Eiteman's blog
By Marcia Ishii-Eiteman,

Organic and conventional farmers are feeling rooked. And for good reason. A USDA-appointed advisory group known as the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21) has just concluded over a year’s worth of deliberation on how to address the thorny problem of transgenic contamination of organic and non-genetically engineered (GE) crops— a major threat to farmers’ businesses and livelihoods.

The result? A report recommending that farmers and taxpayers bear the heavy costs of dealing with genetic contamination, while leaving the Big 6 pesticide and GE seed manufacturers free from any responsibility for the harm caused by their products. 

Linda Wells's blog
By Linda Wells,

Seed and chemical giant DuPont just hired a fleet of ex-police officers to patrol the farmlands of North America.

The second-largest seed company used to rely on their partner/competitor Monsanto to play the industry ‘bad cop’ when it came to seed policing. But now DuPont executives have made it clear that they are not afraid to make some enemies as they protect the company's intellectual property interests in genetically engineered seeds. And they've hired an "agro-protection" company staffed by former police officers to do it.

Pesticide Action Network's blog
By Pesticide Action Network,

Sixty-four years ago today, on a cold winter morning in Paris, delegates from around the world came together to adopt an historic document that was soon to become the foundation of international human rights law: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR has since become the most widely recognized and accepted human rights contract in history.

Adopted in 1948, the UDHR has been the foundation for an entire body of international human rights treaties, both binding and voluntary. For decades, it has inspired local and global efforts to hold human rights violators accountable — including PAN’s Permanent People’s Tribunal on violations perpetrated by the Big 6 pesticide corporations, held late last year.